As we work with Extension in classes, I'm realizing Goldilocks was onto something. "This one's too hot. This one's too cold. This one's just right!", she claimed about porridge. Yoga is the Middle Way. We're beginning to unpack lessons over the next couple of weeks on balance in extension.
For those of us living with chronic conditions balance becomes key, the goal we aim for. Not over-extending (our time, our bodies, our spirits) and not under-extending (our time, our bodies, our spirits); this is one common challenge we all seem to struggle with. Yoga practice teaches us to find the balance between effort and rest; the balance between smooth steadiness and ease and not so smooth and steady. Our breath is our greatest guide here.
Throughout your day, begin to bring your awareness to your breath. I'm not talking in Yoga class (there too! ;o) but in your daily life. Notice your breath and how it reflects your day, how your body feels, how your mind feels and ultimately how your spirits are feeling. Are you holding your breath? Is it shallow and stuck in the neck area rather than smooth and steady through your entire torso? Is it smooth and steady and easily moving through you? Does it feel stuck anywhere in the body- the mid-back or the nostrils?
I recommend beginning a Breathing Journal. I'm a huge proponent of writing as a tool to find the balance of what is right for you in any medium. There's something almost confessional about holding a gliding pen over a blank page and letting it rip. You don't need a fancy expensive journal; use the back of already used paper instead of recycling it. The point is to show up and write every day. If writing isn't accessible to you right now, typing is fine.
Notice your breath upon waking- How does it feel? How does your body feel? How does your mind feel? Notice your breath in the middle of your day and ask again. Notice it while you're traveling from point A to point B, after a conversation with a friend or with a doctor, when you're trying to find a bathroom, whenever... The point is to begin to become aware and practice noticing your breath throughout your day.
Make no judgment and don't read back quite yet. The idea is to begin is all. We'll meet back here in a few weeks to unpack our findings. For now, carry your journal around with you and numerous times throughout your day ask yourself these three questions....
How does my breath feel?
How does my body feel?
How does my mind feel?
Let me know if you have any questions or concerns and have fun with it. I know things didn't work out for Goldilocks and each of us have our three bears just as she did... once our body, mind and spirit are depleted, over-extended or the opposite once they are underused or abused we begin to lose our balance and our well-being suffers.
Begin to find what's "just right" for you here and now.